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How You Value Your Self as An Adult Comes from Your Childhood Experiences

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

What is self-value?

Self-value is about the behaviours and actions you carry out and demonstrate towards the things that you value, including your Self. How much do you value your Self? Your time, your health, your wellbeing? Now, spend a few minutes thinking about whether your actions align to your thoughts and beliefs about your own self-value…

Did you grow up in an environment or household where your parents and role models always placed value on others, without listening to their own needs or yours? If so, it follows that you’re either likely to be the same as an adult, or the complete opposite.

Childhood structures

My model for value in childhood was placed on others. It was always about doing, giving and being for others – whether that was to give my time, energy or effort. Being there for others was what was considered of value in my childhood experience. In actuality, what that meant was that I grew up placing value outside of my Self, instead of having value for my Self and my needs.

What this meant was that I had to fight for my Self. Firstly, to learn my needs and build a relationship with my Self. Secondly, to learn to prioritise my Self and finally, to develop an understanding of my own value.

Imagine growing up where everyone else’s needs, achievements and time was considered more important than yours? Imagine that you were raised to think (by demonstration and repeated behaviour patterns through generations) that your value comes from giving to others.

Re-creating your self-value by being an example

The truth is – how can you value anything or anyone, if you do not or cannot value your Self first? If you give endlessly and end up burnt out, slightly resentful and completely depleted – what is the story you’re telling your Self about your value? Is this the way you choose to value your Self?

More importantly, is this what you’re teaching your children and our future generations in terms of how they should value themselves? It’s time to start breaking the cycles of generational patterns you were raised within, so that you can, as an adult redefine and teach your Self what it means to value your Self… your health, wellbeing, your time.

Let’s take a couple of examples… say you work your Self to burn out for your job, because you’ve grown up thinking you are your job – that your value lies within what you do. What about when you’re emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted?

Or, for instance, you know you need a time out for rest and rejuvenation so you plan to put your Self first and give your Self a weekend of rest time. Say a friend or family member calls and asks for your help this weekend. What do you say?

Five tips to start building your own self-value

If you want to be a role model to your children and struggle to prioritise your Self, check out my top five tips to help you develop your self-value:

  • Learn to start saying “no” – I know it’s challenging trust me (just practice it with little things first)

  • Be kind to your Self – the same way you’re kind and considerate with others

  • Do something that pleases you – stop worrying about other people’s opinions, or what your family or society would think

  • Forgive your Self - for not doing or saying what you ‘should’ have (learn from your experiences instead of holding on to regret, which in turn builds resentment and distrust towards your Self)

  • Spend time introspecting – if something doesn’t sit well with you, ask your Self what the experience taught you about your needs and core values and think about how you’d do it differently next time.

Making changes

If you were taught in childhood how valuable you are and how to prioritise your Self and your needs – how different would your life be today?

It’s important for us to be aware of our own value because we are the role models for future generations. Let’s demonstrate self-value to our children by being the example. We are valuable – our being, our time, our effort and we must learn to listen to our needs before we’re able to give to others wholeheartedly.


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